A key distinction that must be made through value stream analysis is to separate steps
that add value (“value add” steps) from those that do not (“non value add” or NVA
steps). Parenthetically, a third category – business value add – encompasses those tasks
that add no actual value but are necessary for business related reasons, such as meeting
governmental regulations. These business value–add steps must get done as efficiently
In short, value-add steps are those that are meaningful to a company’s
top management team or to the businesses that the legal department
serves. Other value-add steps are those that may not be visible to these
stakeholders but still affect the legal team’s services in a meaningful way.
In contrast, NVA steps consume resources without adding value. It is critical to note
that value-add steps that must be redone as a result of quality issues or as a result of
poor sequencing are considered NVA steps and must be addressed.
When process owners imagine the process, it is most likely very different in their
minds than reality. Even when legal teams feel the need for a streamlined process and
acknowledge that the current-state includes extraneous steps, the reality is often much
more complicated than they imagine: